Friday, October 21, 2011

Painting by History: Choosing Historically Accurate Paint Colors for The Anna Clapp Harris Smith House

Article written by Historic Boston's 1772 Foundation Fellow and Project Manager, Peter Erhartic

Many changes have been occurring at Historic Boston’s Anna Clapp Harris Smith House in Dorchester. Over the past year the façade as been restored back to its federal roots after a 100 year detour into Victorian detailing. But, perhaps most notable, is the progression of paint colors on the buildings front façade. When Historic Boston began work at the property, the house was shingled and brown. After the shingles were peeled back, grey clapboards were revealed. A peach primer coat was soon added, followed by a second coat of its current yellow color. In the coming year the house will be painted its final color which will be (drum roll please)…. Mannered Gold. What is Mannered Gold and how did Historic Boston choose this color? We chose the color by careful historical paint analysis, of course.

Historic Boston has had the privilege of working with Sara Chase, an experienced historic paint analyst. Through obtaining materials and studying samples under a microscope, Sara was able to discover the historic color of the house as a dark, rich, yellow and further identified the trim as classic ivory. These findings allow Historic Boston to make decisions about the restoration of the house using historical precedent and context rather than employing arbitrary preference. When working with historic preservation regulatory bodies such as the Boston Landmarks Commission, or State Historic Preservation Officers, such context is critical for justifying design choices. Further, this process allows us to stay true to our mission of undertaking thoughtful, well-researched, historic preservation projects.

A swatch of the Sherwin-Williams
color Mannered Gold  

1 comment:

  1. Great to know. I want to get some Historic Preservation Consultants for my historic house which was owned by my grandfather. I want to renovate that. Thanks for sharing. Keep exploring.